Not many school leaders in the country can say that their school was created to focus on and preserve the Chaldean, Assyrian and Syriac cultures. Nathan Kalasho may be one of the few, if not the only one altogether. The child of two long-time public school educators who immigrated to the United States in the 70s, Nathan understood from a very early age the importance of education in diverse communities. This fall, he is applying his understanding of unique public education needs in Michigan by opening the KEYS GRACE Academy Charter School in Detroit.
As the first charter school authorized by the Madison District Public Schools, the school will offer a Chaldean/Assyrian culture course and a course in Mesopotamian history – with special emphasis on events that are not commonly discussed in the Western world, like the Babylonian and the Assyrian civilizations. However, the cultural focus does not stop there: on top of teaching the state’s new academic standards, the school will also be paying special attention to language education so that by the time students graduate, they will be proficient in three languages - English, modern Aramaic and either Spanish or French. KEYS GRACE Academy is already reaching over 60 percent of its enrollment capacity – validating the high demand for the cultural education that Nathan and his parents so rightly anticipated.